Going to College Archive

What Information Should Prospects Send to College Golf Coaches?

Self-Promoting Can Make a Significant Difference in the Recruiting Process

During each of my 13 years as the Head Men’s Golf Coach at the University of North Florida, I received on average approximately 1,000 letters, emails, or faxes from prospective student-athletes introducing themselves to me and inquiring as to whether or not golf scholarships were available for their graduating class. Most of these prospects failed to do their homework before sending their information to me. Instead of researching our university’s admissions standards and golf team ranking, they took a more “shotgun” approach and wrote to schools they thought would be interesting to attend. At least 95 percent of the prospects were unqualified either due to poor grades and/or test scores or because they lacked the necessary results in tournament competition.

Before you send anything to a college coach, do your homework. Make sure your academic profile matches (at least closely) that of the school you are contacting. This includes both your grade point average and test scores (SAT and/or ACT). Secondly, be realistic with yourself and only contact schools where you have a better than 50-50 chance of playing on the team. Focus on the team’s top three or four players only when determining whether or not you are a qualified candidate. Golfstat and the Ping American College Golf Guide can be a very useful websites when researching a team’s recent tournament performances and national rankings.

Once you have a realistic list of 10 to 12 schools that are potential fits (both academically and athletically), you should contact the coaches and introduce yourself. My suggestion is that you email an introductory letter to each coach that includes your contact information, academic profile, upcoming tournament schedule, instructor’s name, references, and golf highlights. Writing to them early in your junior year is appropriate as coaches are permitted to write and email you at that same time. Keep the letter simple and brief so they will be more likely to read it. Most coaches access their email accounts regularly (even when out of the office), so this is the simplest, most effective way to communicate with them. Offer to make an unofficial visit (one that you pay for) to their campus if they have any interest in recruiting you. Unofficial visits are a great way to learn more about the schools and to meet the coaches face to face.

You should also produce a swing and short game DVD that they can review. This DVD can either be sent via email or regular mail depending on your software capabilities. The DVD needs to include 10 to 12 full swings (some from down the line and some from face on), as well as several chips, pitches, bunker shots, and putts. It is unnecessary to have any audio or instruction on the tape.

Include a paragraph in your introductory letter that lets the coach know why you are writing to him. Mention something about his university and golf team that indicates you have in fact done your homework. Provide at least one specific reason why you are interested in attending that school. It may have to do with academic offerings, climate, golf team ranking, or all of the above. Without including this information, you run the risk of sending a generic letter that the coach will assume you sent in a blanket manner to numerous schools.

Finally, do not be surprised if less than 50 percent of the coaches write back to you. Many of them operate without assistants or secretaries and are challenged to stay current with their administrative duties. Some will respond immediately, while others will keep your name on file and monitor your progress throughout the season. In either case, it is acceptable to email periodic updates to these coaches so that they are aware of your continued interest in their programs.

Best of luck with your college search!

Coach Brooks
Red Numbers Golf®

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